PRESS RELEASE

Serbia added to human rights watchlist as government flip flops on decision to permit EuroPride gathering in Belgrade

22 September 2022

  • Authorities attempt to ban Belgrade’s first staging of EuroPride rally
  • Protests on environmental issues have faced restrictions
  • Environmental defenders face judicial harassment through SLAPPs

Serbia has been added to a watchlist of countries that have seen a rapid decline in civic freedoms, with concerns about the authorities attempts to ban the LGBTQI+ EuroPride peaceful march on 17 September in Belgrade. Just days before the pan-European gathering, Serbian authorities banned the peaceful march, only to reverse its decision hours beforehand.

The new watchlist is released by the CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks the latest developments to civic freedoms, including freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, across 197 countries and territories. Other countries included on the list are Guatemala, Guinea, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

Despite attempts to ban the EuroPride march, at the last minute the government allowed a short ‘walk’ to take place on 17th September 2022. However, anti-LGBTQI+ protesters carrying crosses and bibles, trampledon an LGBTQI+ rainbow flag, attempted to disrupt the march and attacked police and journalists. About 64 were detained in relation to these clashes.

Concerningly, several LGBTQI+ activists reported being physically attacked after the event. LGBTQI+ activists from Germany and Albania were targeted while returning to their hotel, with activists reporting that police failed to swiftly intervene. Two of the activists were injured during the incident.

The government's attempts to ban the EuroPride march come as LGBTQI+ rights are under attack. For example, the premises of the Pride Info Centre in Belgrade has been repeatedly defaced. There have been 15 attacks since the Center opened three years ago, with none of the previous attackers held accountable.

“This ban is a continuation of a practice of banning peaceful assemblies because of violent counter-assemblies. The LGBTQI+ community were again betrayed by the authorities, bearing in mind that EuroPride was organised based on government-civil society partnership since the very start, with authorities retreating their support at the last moment. All persons who called for or committed violence before and during EuroPride need to be held responsible for their actions. This would be a starting point for authorities to show that they are fully committed to protecting the right to peaceful assembly and to battling discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community,” said Uroš Jovanović, Gradjanske inicijative (Civic Initiatives).

We are also concerned about restrictions on protests for environmental rights. Just last month, protesters, who were camping on mount Starica near Majdanpek, East Serbia, to prevent mining at this site, were attacked by private security who destroyed their base.

Additionally, environmental defenders are facing judicial harassment through Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation ( SLAPPs), intended to silence and intimidate them. In one example, Activist Dragana Arsić, the Let’s Defend the Forests of Fruska Gora movement, and the civic association Fruškać have faced a total of five SLAPPs from the co-owners of the Galens construction company, for their environmental activism.

These concerning developments take place as President Aleksandar Vucic’s secured a re-election in April 2022, amid growing pressure on civil society and journalists and restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly.

“Respect for civic freedoms is a key requirement for Serbia’s accession to the European Union. If the Serbian government is serious about joining the EU, it must urgently commit to respecting civic freedoms and halt all attacks on LGBTQI+ rights, journalists, environmental defenders and civil society. In addition, the EU must closely monitor developments on civic freedoms in the country, said Aarti Narsee, Civic Space Researcher Europe, CIVICUS.

Serbia is currently rated ‘obstructed’ by the CIVICUS Monitor. There are a total of 42 countries in the world with this rating ( see all). This rating is typically given to countries where civic space is heavily contested by power holders, who impose a combination of legal and practical constraints on the full enjoyment of fundamental rights (see the full description of ratings).

DOWNLOAD COUNTRY RESEARCH BRIEF


For more details, or to arrange an interview, please contact: media@civicus.org

Најава

Srbija dodata na listu za praćenje (watchlist) ljudskih prava usled premišljanja vlasti o odluci da dozvoli EuroPride okupljanje u Beogradu

22. septembar 2022. godine

  • Vlasti su pokušale da zabrane prvo održavanje EuroPride okupljanja u Beogradu
  • Protesti u vezi sa ekološkim pitanjima suočeni sa ograničenjima
  • Aktivisti i aktivistkinje za zaštitu životne sredine suočeni sa sudskim uznemiravanjem kroz SLAPP tužbe

Srbija je dodata na listu za praćenje (watchlist) zemalja u kojima je došlo do brzog pada građanskih sloboda, uz zabrinutost zbog pokušaja vlasti da zabrane mirnu LGBTQI+ EuroPride šetnju 17. septembra u Beogradu. Samo nekoliko dana pre ovog panevropskog skupa, srpske vlasti su zabranile ovaj miran marš, da bi nekoliko sati pre događaja revidirale svoju odluku.

Novu listu za praćenje objavio je CIVICUS Monitor, onlajn platforma koja prati najnoviji razvoj u oblasti građanskih sloboda, uključujući slobodu izražavanja, udruživanja i mirnog okupljanja, u 197 zemalja i teritorija. Pored Srbije, ostale zemlje na listi za praćenje su Gvatemala, Gvineja, Šri Lanka i Zimbabve.

Uprkos pokušajima da se zabrani EuroPride šetnja, vlasti su, u poslednjem trenutku, dozvolile kratku 'šetnju' 17. septembra 2022. Međutim, anti-LGBTQI+ demonstranti koji su nosili krstove i biblije, gazili su LGBTQI+ duginu zastavu, pokušali su da poremete marš i napali su policiju i novinare. U vezi sa ovim sukobima privedene su oko 64 osobe.

Nadalje, nekoliko LGBTQI+ aktivista je prijavilo da su bili fizički napadnuti nakon događaja. LGBTQI+ aktivisti iz Nemačke i Albanije bili su meta dok su se vraćali u svoj hotel, a aktivisti su prijavili da policija nije blagovremeno intervenisala. Dvojica aktivista su povređena tokom incidenta.

Pokušaji vlasti da zabrane EuroPride šetnju dolaze u kontekstu ugroženosti LGBTQI+ prava u Srbiji. Na primer, prostorije Prajd info centra u Beogradu su više puta napadnute. Od otvaranja Centra pre tri godine, bilo je 15 napada, a niko od prethodnih napadača nije odgovarao.

„Ova zabrana predstavlja nastavak prakse zabranjivanja mirnih okupljanja zbog nasilnih kontraskupova. Vlast je ponovo izdala LGBTQI+ zajednicu, uzimajući u obzir da je EuroPride organizovan u partnerstvu vlasti i civilnog društva od samog početka, a vlasti su povukle svoju podršku u poslednjem trenutku. Sve osobe koje su pozivale na nasilje ili su ga činile, pre i tokom EuroPride-a, treba da odgovaraju za svoje postupke. To će biti prvi korak za vlasti da pokažu da su u potpunosti posvećene zaštiti slobode mirnog okupljanja i borbi protiv diskriminacije LGBTQI+ zajednice“, rekao je Uroš Jovanović, Građanske inicijative.

Takođe smo zabrinuti u vezi sa ograničenjima protesta za zaštitu životne sredine. Prošlog meseca, učesnici protesta, koji su kampovali na planini Starici blizu Majdanpeka, Istočna Srbija, u pokušaju da spreče rudarenje na ovoj lokaciji, napadnuti su od strane privatnog obezbeđenja koje je uništilo njihov kamp.

Dodatno, aktivisti za zaštitu životne sredine suočavaju se sa sudskim uznemiravanjem kroz strateške tužbe protiv javnog učešća (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation – SLAPP), koje se podnose s ciljem njihovog ućutkivanja i zastrašivanja. U jednom primeru, aktivistkinja Dragana Arsić, pokret „Odbranimo šume Fruške Gore“ i udruženje „Fruškać“, suočeni su sa ukupno 5 SLAPP tužbi od strane suvlasnika građevinske kompanije Galens, zbog njihovog ekološkog aktivizma.

Ovi zabrinjavajuća dešavanja se odvijaju u kontekstu reizbora predsednika Aleksandra Vučića u aprilu 2022. godine, uporedo sa rastućim pritiskom na civilno društvo i novinare i novinarke, kao i ograničenjima prava mirnog okupljanja.

„Poštovanje građanskih sloboda je ključni preduslov u procesu pristupanja Srbije Evropskoj uniji. Ukoliko je srpska vlada ozbiljna u vezi sa učlanjenjem u EU, ona mora hitno da se posveti poštovanju građanskih sloboda i da zaustavi sve napade na LGBTQI+ prava, novinare i novinarke, aktiviste za zaštitu životne sredine i civilno društvo. Dodatno, EU mora pažljivo posmatrati razvoj događaja u vezi sa građanskim slobodama u zemlji“, rekla je Aarti Narsee, Istraživačica građanskog prostora za Evropu, CIVICUS.

Srbija trenutno ima ocenu „opstruisan“ od strane CIVICUS Monitora. Ovaj rejting imaju ukupno 42 zemlje u svetu ( pogledajte sve). Ova ocena se obično daje zemljama u kojima se građanski prostor u velikoj meri osporava od strane nosilaca vlasti, koji nameću kombinaciju pravnih i praktičnih ograničenja na puno uživanje osnovnih prava (pogledajte kompletan opis ocena).

ПРЕУЗМИТЕ ИЗВЕШТАЈ